The history of video conferencing is a long and intriguing one. Just like most complex technologies, it went through numerous phases in fits and starts. Today, this type of business communication has become the norm. So how did this fascinating technology evolve? Well … here’s a brief summary of video conferencing history:
The Early History of Video Conferencing
The first Picturephone test system was developed in 1956. The AТ&T system was capable of transmitting one image per several seconds. A more advanced model in 1964 was unpopular due to the bulkiness of the equipment and the small size of the image.
The year 1970 saw the launch of the first commercial Picturephone service. Though AT&T predicted incredible success for the system, it was still too bulky and too expensive to be accepted by the general consumer.
The video conference possibility became popular only after the development of the computer, the enhancement of resolution, graphics and video communication functionality.
Video Conferencing Comes to the Commercial Market
The first breakthrough in video conferencing history was made in the early 1980s. Compression Labs was the company that introduced its commercial video conferencing product in 1982. The product, however, was expensive and it required vast resources to function properly.
PictureTel started rivaling Compression Labs after announcing the launch of yet another video conference system in 1986. In just a few years, the price of the technology decreased dramatically from the 250,000 dollars that Compression Labs demanded for its product to only 80,000 dollars.
Apart from these systems, several other companies tried to launch video conference possibilities that were much more affordable and created especially for household usage. The military is also responsible for a few key developments.
The history of video conferencing saw tech advances and Internet prominence make it much more viable in the 1990s. In 1991, the world saw the first personal computer-based video conference system. Its creator was IBM. PicTel was a black and white communication platform but its cost was quite low compared to prior experiments.
Several months later saw a revolutionary breakthrough when DARTnet managed to connect a transcontinental IP network. More than 12 sites in the US and the UK connected successfully. DARTnet was later on renamed to CAIRN system and it still exists today.
New Developments: Video Conferencing Today
The Internet and the affordability of the technology led to the quick evolution of the video conferencing field. Today, it is widely accessible and used by many businesses, institutions and organizations that need communication simplicity and the ability to connect people at several locations in a simple, practical and affordable way.
High speed Internet access became affordable in many locations across the globe by 2003. The general buyer got access to affordable web cameras, microphones and other sound equipment. A number of free software options came in existence, taking digital video communication to the next level.
Cloud-based solutions have boosted the practicality of online conferencing even further. The cost decreased noticeably and some of the previously existing restrictions disappeared through the use of cloud technology.
The Future of Video Conferencing
Mobile and social will continue to determine the future history of video conferencing. Not long ago, people needed to sit in front of a computer for video communication to take place. Today, such digital encounters happen daily; tablets and smart phones have changed the rules of the game and boosted the mobility of online conferences.
The Facebook generation’s attitude towards online communication has had a huge impact on technology use and the rapid evolution of the sector.
As the workplace continues to evolve, so do the methods of communicating with partners, answering customer requests, organizing seminars, and even holding job interviews. The affordability and general availability of these systems is already expanding and easing everyday communications.
Photo Credit: stock photo